Faith in Action – Episode 4

Cate Wheatley – Faith in Film


Richard: Hello, I’m Richard Sargeant, and this is Faith in Action, a podcast about how faith affects the way we live and work today. Film has always been closely connected with the portrayal of religion, and yet is the only art form not to originate from within the church. With me to discuss faith in film is Cate Wheatley, a senior lecturer in film studies at King’s College, London. Cate, why did you choose to look at faith in film as part of your academic work? Continue reading


Faith in Action – Episode 3

Ben Welby – Faith in Technology


Hello, I’m Richard Sargeant and This is Faith in Action, a new podcast to discuss how faith affects the way we live and work today.

Digital Technology surrounds us, and infuses many of our daily lives as consumers, creators and citizens. But is it a force for connection, or alienation? Will technology enable communities of faith to come closer together, or just separate us from our physical neighbours? To discuss this I’ve come face to face with Ben Welby, who is a product manager in the Government Digital Service.

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Faith in Action – Episode 2

Sarah Chapman – Faith amid poverty


Hello, I’m Richard Sargeant and This is Faith in Action, a new podcast to discuss how faith affects the way we live and work today.

Faith is often seen as a personal comfort, and private relationship with God. But the Church today is deeply involved in practical actions to alleviate poverty and to advocate for the powerless. For example, food banks, which served over a million meals last year. Mostly, these have a Christian foundation, Christian management, and work in partnership with local churches.

It is a pleasure to be joined by Sarah Chapman, the co-founder of the Wandsworth foodbank in London. We’ve come to talk about the importance of faith amid poverty.

So Sarah, how big an issue is food poverty today?

I think it’s a very big issue for those who are currently experiencing it. In a country as rich as ours, any family struggling to put food on the table is a real issue, it is a real problem

Is it getting worse?

Stats show that inequality in London is getting wider. In Wandsworth borough where we the gap between the richest and the poorest is very visible and tangible. In the years we’ve been open, from the first to the second year there was a 30% increase in the number of people we helped in that year, and we tended to help more people more often within that as well, so Food poverty is lasting longer for the family in the situation – it’s taking longer to be resolved.

Are foodbanks the right answer? Don’t food handouts create a culture of dependence?

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Faith in Action – a new podcast

This is a new podcast to discuss how faith affects the way we live and work today. There is a little more explanation on this page, but meanwhile, here is the first episode!

Episode 1 – Jon Yates – Faith in society


Hello, this is Faith in Action, a new podcast to discuss how faith affects the way we live and work today.

Faith is often thought to epitomise divisions within society. But a recent report challenges that idea with research which suggests that the church is actually the best place for social mixing between people of different ages, class, ethnicity, income, and politics.

I’m delighted to welcome Jon Yates, who is the co-founder of The Challenge. The Challenge is the UK’s leading charity for building a more integrated society. We’ve come to talk about the part that faith might play in bringing people together.

So Jon, what does an integrated society mean? What does it look like?

I think, when we set up the charity – the charity is about six or seven years old now – and it is probably worth me saying that the people who set up the charity aren’t all Christians – so for me my faith plays a big part in wanting to be involved, but it’s not everybody’s motivation – the thing that drove it for us was that people should understand each other. And I think for me, having grown up in a faith community, you have an understanding that you can have differences of opinion on faith. So my mum, for example, and I would happily admit that we have a different views of how our faith works out. And it’s very easy within even the Christian faith to start to think that that group are all horrendous, and that group are absolutely awful, and that group… and so I think partly because of faith I became aware of the value of actually understanding each other. And having parents who had a different sense of faith to mine made me think actually, it’s perfectly valid to disagree with someone without thinking they’re evil.

So I think, to me an integrated society is one where we start with a sense of realising that people who are different to us aren’t necessarily worse than us, or a threat to us. The opposite is a society where we think that ‘there are some people who are kind of like me and trustworthy and decent and get where I’m coming from – sort of common sense people – and the rest are basically nutters or crazies, or boring’ or whatever. And I think that integration is enough banging into each other and time together to realise that people may be different from us, but they’re not necessarily worse.

And how much of an issue is this in modern britain today?
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Refugees Welcome

Credit: United Nations Photo

Credit: UN Photo

I’m going to a London hack-weekend on the 2nd October with a proposition. I’d like to create an easier way for people to offer to host refugees in their homes for a period of time.

This recent newspaper article gave advice for people looking to offer a room, but the process is far from straightforward. Citizens UK and 38 Degrees have demonstrated that there are a lot of people in the UK who are willing to help, but right now there is no accessible online service in the UK. But it wouldn’t take long to make…

To get ready for the weekend, I’m talking with the expert organisations who have been organising such support for years, including Boaz Trust, Assist, Housing Justice, and Refugees Welcome in Germany about how we might quickly create a light-weight digital service wrapper that could save them work in gathering potential hosts, and lower the barrier for people wanting to volunteer.

We are going to need help from people with a whole bunch of different skills, including designers, developers, user researchers, asylum experts, local authority housing experts, service managers, data analysts, and delivery managers. I’d love your help with this. If you’re interested, you can either come along to the hack-weekend or get in touch through Twitter.